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Cinema West theaters


icepickphil

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Two or three years ago I was at the Continental Club downtown and saw they had one of the signs from the Cinema West theatre backstage.

Does anyone remember this theatre? I believe it was an adult theater on Richmond or Westteimer in the 70s (before VHS tapes). Was it a chain of theaters?

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Cinema West sponsored a baseball team (or was it softball) that was always at the top of the standings. A couple of guys I was in Reagan with played on the team. But, as far as the kind of movies they ran, well, I, uh - that is I don't seem to remember what, uh - you know, maybe I don't remember Cinema West after all.

Hey, TBird. You didn't play for them, did you?

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Two or three years ago I was at the Continental Club downtown and saw they had one of the signs from the Cinema West theatre backstage.

Does anyone remember this theatre? I believe it was an adult theater on Richmond or Westteimer in the 70s (before VHS tapes). Was it a chain of theaters?

Not sure if it was a chain. In August 1974, the theater was showing the X-rated flick "The Resurrection of Eve" starring Marilyn Chambers.

It was located at 5341 West Alabama, between South Rice Avenue and Yorktown Street.

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Not sure if it was a chain. In August 1974, the theater was showing the X-rated flick "The Resurrection of Eve" starring Marilyn Chambers.

It was located at 5341 West Alabama, between South Rice Avenue and Yorktown Street.

The original Cinema West was in a strip center on West Alabama, out where it merges with Westheimer. The guy who owned it was an interesting guy. Joe Spiegel graduated from the University of Houston with a business degree in the mid 60s, and his father gave him a hundred thousand dollars to start up his first business. Soft-core porn was common at that time, but Spiegel could see that hardcore porn was slipping into the mainstream. He thought it could be profitable, so he took advantage of the public's relaxing attitudes and opened Houston's first hardcore porn house.

It made so much money that Spiegel was able to build a free-standing adult theatre on Richmond, and open another adult movie house in the Rice Village off Kirby - Cinema West II. His long range plan was to use his adult theater profits to buy legitimate family movie houses and ultimately get out of porn altogether, which is exactly what he did. At one time in the 70s and 80s, Spiegel owned several neighborhood houses, like the Garden Oaks on North Shepherd and several others, the names of which I can't remember.

And yes he was a big softball fan and player. Spiegel organized or sponsored teams in the city softball leagues and tournaments for a long time, and they were good. He had their trophies on display in the Cinema West lobby. I always liked Joe Spiegel. He wasn't a porn-meister, and he never got involved in producing adult films. He was, and probably still is, a smart businessman, and he used the growing popularity of adult movies to get started. I have no idea what he's doing now, but I'm betting that he's successful. He's that kind of guy.

Edited by FilioScotia
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.... It made so much money that Spiegel was able to build a free-standing adult theatre on Richmond, and open another adult movie house in the Rice Village off Kirby - Cinema West II. ....

This from the July 21, 1969, Houston Post. Must have been the Art Cinema at one time. I remember seeing this one. It was just across the parking lot from Rodney's Men's Clothing Store in the Village.

ArtCinema-1969.jpg

Edited by 57Tbird
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Oh Lord. Back in the early 70's I worked at the bank that Cinema West used. The owner gave me 25 or so free passes....as if a young lady in her (then) 20's would want them. Anyway, a few of the other ladies from the bank and I went there during lunch just to laugh at the movies and the pervs. LOL! We even got kicked out once.

I do remember that it was quite nice and clean.

Don't know if it would be tactful to list the movies that we saw but let's just say they were classics. Never saw any complete movies cuz we were too busy cracking up and making fun of the acting....and the guys with popcorn boxes in their laps ;)

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Oh Lord. Back in the early 70's I worked at the bank that Cinema West used. The owner gave me 25 or so free passes....as if a young lady in her (then) 20's would want them. Anyway, a few of the other ladies from the bank and I went there during lunch just to laugh at the movies and the pervs. LOL! We even got kicked out once.

I do remember that it was quite nice and clean.

Don't know if it would be tactful to list the movies that we saw but let's just say they were classics. Never saw any complete movies cuz we were too busy cracking up and making fun of the acting....and the guys with popcorn boxes in their laps ;)

LOLLLL! I know what you mean. I spent a little too much of my misspent youth at that theater. The result is that I know far too much about 1970s porno movies. Things I wish I didn't know. Question: Why did you get kicked out? What does a "young lady" have to do to get thrown out of a porno movie house? I bet there's a good story in that and I'd love to hear it.

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